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A Small Town Gal

Family Reunions

Mel BooneMemorial Day weekend was a time for reunions and family gathering for my family.

As the unofficial start of the summer season, everyone would first gather at the local family cemetery to put flags onto the family veterans that had passed away. Not many in my family have served, but it's still a big deal to help do general upkeep of the cemetery (mow and pull weeds) and then set flowers and flags on the grave sites.

Afterwards, we would gather at my uncle's farm (grandpa's older brother) for a barbeque. That was always nice. You got to see family that you may not get to see any other time of the year. So there was a lot of visiting to catch up on. The day always seemed to go by way too fast.

I was in my mid-twenties when I missed my first family reunion. I put to have it off two weeks in advance like I was supposed to.

The boss decided that there was too many of us wanting off and he made the decision that I was the one that had to work. It was hard for me to hold back the tears that weekend.

I never made it back to the yearly reunions. Slowly, but surely, the time came that they were never held. In a sad way, my grandpa and his four older brothers have their own reunion now. They are all finally together in heaven.

I find myself reflecting this time of year. Mostly about how many of my relatives that I have lost over the years.

I don't realize how many of them are gone until I actually start thinking about it. When they're gone, they're gone. You can go visit their grave sites, but it's really not the same.

That person is no longer there to share memories or stories of their life with you. As a kid, sometimes you roll your eyes. Once that person is gone, you start wishing he or she was still around to talk to.

So as Memorial Day comes closer, I get things ready. A few flowers and a couple of flags to put on the graves of my grandfather and uncle. That's all that I can do now.

I dread being the one to do that task, but it's one that I will do. I know that it's the right thing to do.

My stepdad tells me that there is no such thing as "the golden years" when you get old. The "golden years" according to him was the years that you spent as a kid. For every birthday that I live to see, the more that I think he is right.

Live life while you can and cherish those moments.

mother's day
Photo property of Mel Boone.

Spring

Mel BooneSpring is here, finally. After what seemed like forever, Mother Nature has finally loosened her grip on winter. The snow is gone and the temperature is finally warmed up. At last, I can enjoy the outdoors. I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to shake loose from the cabin fever that I had.

It's a wonderful thing to witness the changing of the seasons. Everywhere around me, I see trees in bloom. Red and yellow tulips are in full bloom as well. I just love to see the tulips at one house here in town. Whoever lives there has taken the time and care to plant tulip bulbs, in alternating red and yellow along the sidewalk in front and along the side of the house. I admire his or her green thumb and the care that this person has taken to make these flowers and yard look so beautiful. It puts a smile on my face every time I drive by.

White blossoms from my neighbors tree are a beautiful sight too. I get to look at the tree several times a day when I take Jake and Buddy out for a walk. I don't know if it's a cherry tree or some other tree that has white blooms on it, but I must ask. It has been in her yard for as long as I can remember. The tree seems to have more and more white blooms on it with each passing year. It never fails to take my breath away every time that I see it.

It never fails that I will see an occasional wild rabbit in my yard. Before long, I will catch a glimpse of little baby bunnies hopping around. There are a couple sets of squirrels in the neighborhood. I'm sure the neighborhood will be graced with their offspring running from tree to tree before long. Of course, with squirrels, I figure it's a blessing as long as they are in the trees and not the attic, right?

Birds are making nests, if they have not done so already. I love watching the little birds leave the nest for the first time as they learn to fly. Just a few days ago, I saw the first butterfly, a white one, of the spring as I took an afternoon walk with Buddy. I stopped and watched as it gracefully fluttered through the air while Buddy trailed a scent of something that was no longer there. I wish I was as graceful walking as butterflies are at flying, but I am not.

So it goes that way. Even though I'll never have the gracefulness of that butterfly, I am still grateful. I've gotten up today and walked outside to witness all of nature's beauty that is known as Spring. I guess sometimes Mother Nature has a reason for making us wait a little longer for the changing of the seasons. It makes us appreciate it a little more when it finally happens.

spring tulips
Photo by Getty Images/Milaspage.

Pass The Peanut Butter Please

Mel BooneIf there's one thing that can be agreed on at home, it will be this one: Everyone at home loves peanut butter. That's pretty much where the agreement ends. It's when you start asking "crunchy or creamy?" that the humans start to take sides.

That has been the age old argument for years at home. Speaking for my self, my preference has always been crunchy. Even as a kid, it had to be crunchy. The brand name never mattered to me as long as the word crunchy was on the label. Hand me a jar of creamy peanut butter and I would just look at it and wrinkle my nose.

It was kind of like the way I viewed milk. Mom could set a glass of milk in front of me and I would wrinkle my nose at it. For me, milk was for cereal unless the glass had that magic ingredient in it. Mix chocolate or strawberry syrup in it and I would drink milk all day. I honestly haven't changed much since then.

David on the other hand, will only eat creamy peanut butter. He has a hatred for the crunchy kind. For him, there's the bread, butter, creamy peanut butter, strawberry jam and another slice of bread for a sandwich. I tried a crunchy peanut butter sandwich with a banana the other day and loved it. I haven't convinced him to try it yet.

I did try a peanut butter and banana smoothie yesterday, it tasted pretty good. As usual, I didn't care for cleaning the blender when I was done with it, but that's the way I am anytime I use the blender. It still has to be cleaned, so I cleaned it while daydreaming for a dishwasher for all the other dishes that I needed to wash.

The pets at home love peanut butter too. Jake and Buddy have their kong toys to eat their treats out of. However, they like the empty jar too. When the plastic jars are pretty much empty except for what little is left on the side of the jar, the plastic jar gets cut in half, and each dog licks clean whichever half they get. They don't care if it's crunchy or creamy. As long as it's peanut butter, Jake and Buddy are happy. One of these days, I need to google recipes for dogs that include peanut butter. Why not when I've got a couple of taste testers at home?

My parrot, Bogie, loves peanut butter too. As with the dogs, she is indifferent when it comes to crunchy or creamy. As long as it's peanut butter and it's on a cracker, she will eat it. As far as that goes, it doesn't even need to be on the cracker. Just put a dab of it on a plate and she will still eat it.

So it goes at my house. The crunchy versus creamy debate will continue between the two humans. Just as long as we don't run out, the pets are happy.

jack russell
Jake enjoying peanut butter.

Survival of the Pranks

Mel BooneWell, I made it. I survived April Fools' Day. I probably make it sound so much worse that what it is. Then again, when you come from a family that relishes a good prank, you probably know where I coming from.

I will always remember the prank that my dad's brother, Bob, and I played on Grandma Boone one time. She loved strawberry rhubarb pie. As I was getting the first slice of pie for myself, uncle Bob told me to tell grandma that I was eating the last piece. Grandma took me seriously and I thought she was going to go nuts since she thought that nobody saved her a piece of it. It took her a minute to figure out what happened. I assume the fact that her son and granddaughter laughing like a pair of monkeys gave us away.

Then there's the "I turned the SUV over" trick of 2017. My stepdad tried to convince me that he swerved to keep from hitting a deer and rolled his GMC Jimmy. I didn't take the bait, only because I saw him hiding the SUV behind the neighbors shed. Good trick but bad timing. Next time, he'll have to make sure that the dogs aren't looking out the window barking at him.

As a youngster, when I was probably in kindergarten or first grade, I had really long hair. It was so long, it came down the length of my back and down almost to my knees. One school girl would get on the bus and sometimes politely ask if she could sit on my hair. It was never an April Fools' joke, but still, we always got a good laugh.

One time, my dad thought it would be funny to hide candy for me in his work shoes. Well, I guess it was until he forgot where he hid the candy. He remembered a few days later when he was getting ready for work. He ended up pranking himself on that one.

I think the most memorable prank for me was a few years ago when a familiar fast food chain claimed to have bought the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. I thought it was funny and I still giggle about it today.

I thought I was being pranked this year by the weather man. He kept calling for snow on April 1st. He ended up being right and I got about four inches of snow. Mother Nature got a good laugh out of me that day. At least Jake and Buddy had a great time playing with the snowflakes as they fell.

All's well that ends well. April Fools' Day 2018 has come and gone. I wonder if it's too early to start planning for next year?

snow tire
Snow on April 1st.

Photo by Mel Boone.

One Last Hoorah

Mel Boone 

One last hoorah

Well, Mother Nature decided to give me one last hoorah before she let go of winter. I woke up Sunday morning to gray skies and a little bit of rain. As with my usual routine, I dressed and took Jake and Buddy out for their morning walk. They're not crazy about walking in the rain, but it was a light drizzle and they really needed to go out to do their morning routine.

Ten minutes later, we are back in the house and the dogs are curled back on my bed. Got to get a few more minutes of nap time before I make the bed. I'm standing in the kitchen watching the rain turn into tiny snowflakes. It seems like no time at all that those tiny snowflakes are now huge and coming down hard. I can barely see across the street!

By 11 a.m., the snowfall is pretty much done. My spot in the world is covered in about half an inch of snow. Guess it's a good thing that I had I couple packages of hot cocoa left to make. Who cares if it's March and the hot cocoa is mint flavored? When snow is on the ground, I'm having my cup of hot cocoa! By 4 p.m., the temperature has warmed to a balmy 40 degrees. Most of the snow is gone. Had I not gotten up this morning and taken a few pictures of it, I would be hard pressed to convince anyone that the snowfall had ever happened.

That is my life here in northeast Missouri. I did wait a little bit for the weather to change and it did. Spring will be here in a weeks time. My days are now getting a little longer with each passing day.

I'm happy to have woken up today. Let's enjoy it while we can.

Funny Weather

Mel Boone

"If you don't like the weather, just wait a bit and the weather will change." That's the old saying that popped into my mind this morning as I left home for the library to write my blog for Capper's Farmer.

I went through the weekend with fairly nice temperatures. The sun was out, the trees were starting to bud and a few spring flowers are starting to show. Today, I walk out of the house to find it snowing. Just lightly, but coming down more than it was a few minutes ago and starting to stick. One more reminder to me that Mother Nature hasn't quite had enough of winter yet.

So close to spring I can almost reach it. I've had my fill of cabin fever and yet I patiently wait for the last grip of winter to release me to spring, summer and another year of tractor shows.

I look out the library windows and see the snow coming down just a little harder. A little bit of fog is slowly rolling in. I'm regretting the fact that I chose to wear a slightly lighter coat this morning. My usual winter coat hangs on the coat rack at home next to the kitchen door. Guess which coat has my warm winter gloves in the pocket? They sure won't do me much good on the drive home.

That's life here where I am. Of course, I don't think it would be any different if I lived anywhere else. Mother Nature will do as she pleases regardless of what I would like. I make do with the "funny weather" and will deal with whatever comes next as it happens.

All I have to do is wait. The sun will come out again and warm things up. All it takes is a little bit of patience.

Funny weather

When I Grow Up

Mel Boone 

Finish this question, "When I grow up...".

I'm sure I'm not the only one that heard that as a kid. If you're like me, you may have more than one answer, or at least changed it a few times before you decided on one.

My earliest recollection of being asked that was answering "President." Well I'm pretty sure I may not get to the top seat of the U.S. government, but I am currently vice president of the local ham radio club and have held that position since January 2016.

I know since the sixth grade, (and looking back that's a long, long, time ago!), I decided that I wanted to be a photographer. I'm by no means a professional photographer, but my photos have been published in several magazines, calendar, and on my blog.

I think the only career that I've so far failed to be is cowgirl. Yes, I admit it, the only thing that I liked just as much if not better than Bugs Bunny cartoons on a Saturday morning was watching westerns on Saturday morning. The Rifleman, Bonanza, Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Wild, Wild West were just a few of them. It was fantasy galore for me all morning long imagining myself in all of them.

Fast forward to Christmas 2017 when I took my Christmas money and bought the complete series of Wanted Dead or Alive and the first two seasons of Laramie. So here I am again, reverting back to childhood, day dreaming about being a cowgirl. Good grief, if the DVD player quits on me, I may burst into tears for not being able to see dear Slim and Jess.

Oh well. I never expected to achieve everything. I guess in the long run, I've done pretty good. At least I can still daydream, right?

geese